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Perspective... relative speeds of peds, bikes and cars.

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Perspective... relative speeds of peds, bikes and cars.

Old 04-26-07, 04:31 PM
  #1  
genec
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Perspective... relative speeds of peds, bikes and cars.

I was just thinking that indeed cyclists have more in common with motorists, just based on speed differentials.

Typical walking speeds are 3MPH, fast walking is 3.5 to 5 MPH.

A cyclist can easily do 18MPH, 6 times a walking pace. Some cyclists can maintain 25MPH, 5 times the fast walking pace.

Surface street speeds tend to top out at 60 MPH, just over 3X biking speed. Typical street speeds are in the 45MPH range... not even twice that of the 25MPH of a very fit cyclist.

Even at 12MPH (my speed when tired, with loaded panniers) I am still doing 4X the speed of peds, but motor traffic at 45MPH is only 3.75X my speed.
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Old 04-26-07, 05:11 PM
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A cyclist can easily do 18MPH, 6 times a walking pace. Some cyclists can maintain 25MPH, 5 times the fast walking pace.

I disagree say maybe 12mph or maybe my speedo is off.
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Old 04-26-07, 09:15 PM
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Average speed for my 17 mile commute is 28 mph by car and 13 mph by bike. I have never tried wolking to work, but I dont think I could maintain more than 3 mph for several miles.
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Old 04-26-07, 09:28 PM
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The speed differential between cyclists and pedestrians are the reason why it's so difficult to share systems with pedestrians. Really the only thing we have in common with pedestrians is that we're self-propelled and have the meat on the outside.

I think cycling belongs on roads or on separate bicycle systems. They are truly unique. Not pedestrians, not automobiles. We don't weigh 4700 lbs and go 60 mph.
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Old 04-27-07, 09:53 AM
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It interesting how when cycling on a 45mph posted road at 20-25mph how long it really does take for motor vehicles to approach from rear from the point one first sees them in mirror. Very different than the pedestrian perspective when crossing street.

Al
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Old 04-27-07, 09:57 AM
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Don't forget the bicyclists can coast down hills at a high rate of speed - typically 30 to 45 mph.
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Old 04-27-07, 10:04 AM
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I don't know where you guys are driving - but during the day in my area of toronto - the car only very rarely reaches 50 km/h (about 33 mph), 40 km/h is the typical top speed, and average speed in a car is somewhere between 15-20 km/h.

London apparently has an average driving speed of around 10 mph (though I think that was before the congestion charge). I would imagine that major cities NY, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangkok, Paris and others are about the same.

That puts cars about 2x fast walk and equal with bikes. That is certainly my experience in Toronto.
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Old 04-27-07, 10:31 AM
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if we're talking about from a transport perspective, it really varries.

Downtown LA I'm consistantly as fast as cars. They drive a little faster, and I catch them at stoplights.

In the burbs where I live, cars routinely travel at 50+ and I do about 10-15 mph.

however, if we're talking about saftey and impact issues, I think the mass of a car has some added "weight" here. (sorry, couldn't help myself)

-- James
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Old 04-27-07, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rajman
I don't know where you guys are driving - but during the day in my area of toronto - the car only very rarely reaches 50 km/h (about 33 mph), 40 km/h is the typical top speed, and average speed in a car is somewhere between 15-20 km/h.
In North York and Markham they all go 90-100 between lights. Of course, factoring in the wait times once they get to the next one, the everage speed stays down at 20kph....

As for the bike speeds cited, in the summer, on a road bike, I agree.

In the winter, on the MTB winter tires, uphill, into the wind, with a bit of snow.... no way. I'm a pedestrian with wheels.
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Old 04-27-07, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by wheel
A cyclist can easily do 18MPH, 6 times a walking pace. Some cyclists can maintain 25MPH, 5 times the fast walking pace.

I disagree say maybe 12mph or maybe my speedo is off.
It's a reasonable compromise since I can hold mid-30s drafting a truck.
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Old 04-27-07, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jbarros
however, if we're talking about saftey and impact issues, I think the mass of a car has some added "weight" here. (sorry, couldn't help myself)

-- James
good one! And quite true. While a bicycle is indeed a vehicle, and as such should follow the same general rules of the road as a car, there is something to be said for choosing lower-traffic routes or wider roads when possible, to minimize the number of much larger and more dangerous vehicles the cyclist has to deal with. We may have every right to use any road the cars use (other than expressways and similar), but common sense should come into play when selecting a route--someone in a car has a lot more protection than someone on a bike if a crash happens. Not to mention it's so much more pleasant not to constantly be dodging inattentive drivers.
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Old 04-27-07, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jbarros
however, if we're talking about saftey and impact issues, I think the mass of a car has some added "weight" here. (sorry, couldn't help myself)
And the energy delivered by the impact is the velocity squared; it is the actual velocity of impact that matters, the percentages of differential in speeds are irrelevant.
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Old 04-29-07, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
And the energy delivered by the impact is the velocity squared; it is the actual velocity of impact that matters, the percentages of differential in speeds are irrelevant.
No, the energy is the mass times the velocity squared divided by two.

An automobile weighs about 200 times what a bike weighs, which means that a bike would have to be going about 10 times faster than an automobile to deliver the same impact.

jbarros is right. The mass of the car is the most significant factor and is also what makes cars and cyclists at least as incompatible as pedestrians and cyclists.

Last edited by makeinu; 04-29-07 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 04-30-07, 12:19 AM
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I have only two things to add to this discussion:

1.) f=ma, or, if you're picky, M=mv. If you're riding a bike at 3m/s, and your total mass is 110kg, you can produce 330N of force. If you run head on into an SUV weighing 3,000kg going only 2 m/s, you'll have to deal with 6000N of force. Even though the SUV is slower, it's going to kick your butt in a collision. Acceleration matters, but mass matters more, because the difference is that much greater.

2.) I recently took a hand-held GPS for a bike ride. My speed varied immensely, from 4mph on uphill stretches to 32 mph on steep downhills; I could have gone faster, but I didn't feel like discovering the upper limits of my brakes. On flat stretches, on a hybrid with panniers, without hurting myself, the speed was about 18 mph. The average speed for the entire trip (14 miles), including traffic stops, was about 10 mph, which more or less matches my previous experience; in town, I've noticed that it takes about an hour to go 10 miles.

Last edited by bragi; 04-30-07 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 04-30-07, 11:06 AM
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This varies with the cyclist, of course. My sister-in-law, who lives in a first-ring suburb of Cleveland and never learned to drive a car, still rides her bike on the sidewalk at slow speed, as she was taught as a child. Not how I would want to do it, but it seems safe for her, as she has never had a serious accident in over 50 years of riding a bike around town. She's obviously very careful. I don't preach VC to her, as she is terrified of car traffic and would be far too nervous to handle herself well enough to integrate with it, so I leave well enough alone. She's the most truly pedestrian-style cyclist I know, and it seems to work for her.

General point taken, genec, just wanted to speak up for her perspective. I really don't think she travels more than two or three times ped speed, if that. (We just bought her a bike to keep here when she visits us, so next time she's here, I want to go out with her and measure her speed.)
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Old 04-30-07, 02:55 PM
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You can NOT discuss speed until you have studied the prerequisite, speed 101,

https://www.speed101.com
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Old 05-04-07, 11:13 AM
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Living in a just over 100,000 person city (Ann Arbor, MI), my friend notes that his average speed on his car (I guess it calculates it for him) is 20mph. He lives out around 45mph roads, and his route to school includes mostly 30mph roads. He claims that he has rarely if ever taken his car on highways or the interstates.

Thought some of you'd find this interesting, that under city and suburban conditions, most cars average about what a good cyclist would.
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Old 05-04-07, 11:25 AM
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Just as a sidenote...5 mph is a run, not a walk.
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Old 05-04-07, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by genec
I was just thinking that indeed cyclists have more in common with motorists, just based on speed differentials.

Typical walking speeds are 3MPH, fast walking is 3.5 to 5 MPH.

A cyclist can easily do 18MPH, 6 times a walking pace. Some cyclists can maintain 25MPH, 5 times the fast walking pace.

Surface street speeds tend to top out at 60 MPH, just over 3X biking speed. Typical street speeds are in the 45MPH range... not even twice that of the 25MPH of a very fit cyclist.

Even at 12MPH (my speed when tired, with loaded panniers) I am still doing 4X the speed of peds, but motor traffic at 45MPH is only 3.75X my speed.
And?

This isn't exactly news. We've all known for a while that a bike will always be faster than a ped and in heavy traffic a bike can rival, and even beat, a car.

So is there something else on your mind regarding speeds and bikes? As far as I'm concerned, I'm starting to like the idea of VCing because of this.

But are there points of discussion that we're missing?
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Old 05-04-07, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeuser
But are there points of discussion that we're missing?
Of course there are. Clearly genec just got a new computer on his bike. What kind did you get, genec?
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Old 05-04-07, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Boss Moniker
Living in a just over 100,000 person city (Ann Arbor, MI), my friend notes that his average speed on his car (I guess it calculates it for him) is 20mph. He lives out around 45mph roads, and his route to school includes mostly 30mph roads. He claims that he has rarely if ever taken his car on highways or the interstates.

Thought some of you'd find this interesting, that under city and suburban conditions, most cars average about what a good cyclist would.
The car is always tracking speed. Very few cyclists keep bike computer on 100% of the time and inlude parking, wheeling into garage, etc.

I live in the suburbs and my start engine to stop engine car mph average for home to work is 33-36mph depending on traffic.

Al
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Old 05-04-07, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by JustBrowsing
Of course there are. Clearly genec just got a new computer on his bike. What kind did you get, genec?
Not hardly... I have been using a very old cateye computer for nearly a decade. I just happened to be thinking about relative speeds... after reading some discussions about MUPs.
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Old 05-04-07, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeuser
And?

This isn't exactly news. We've all known for a while that a bike will always be faster than a ped and in heavy traffic a bike can rival, and even beat, a car.

So is there something else on your mind regarding speeds and bikes? As far as I'm concerned, I'm starting to like the idea of VCing because of this.

But are there points of discussion that we're missing?
I think perhaps you got the main point...
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Old 05-05-07, 12:23 AM
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I live near Bloor and Bathurst GhettoC - I can't recall ever reaching 50 kph during the day, maybe 40kph if I'm being suicidal/homicidal. Average driving speed is typically the same or less than cycling speed (I filter at lights, if there are no trucks or right turners). Walking is slower than cycling at all times, faster than driving on saturdays and just before and after rush hour when there is confusion about wheter it's legal to park on Bloor.
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